If an ultrasound is done at 6 to 7 weeks and a heartbeat is not detected, does that mean there is a problem?
No it does not mean there is a problem. The heartbeat may not be detected for reasons that include: tipped uterus, larger abdomen, or inaccurate dating with last menstrual period.
When I had my blighted ovum scare, there was absolutely nothing I could find online about misdiagnosed miscarriages. I found denials that they ever happen. I found literature discussing how accurate first trimester ultrasounds are and that babies are always seen by seven weeks at the latest. Even on miscarriage boards, women tried to convince me to just have the D&C so that I could move on. One miscarriage board administrator even messaged me to tell me miscarriages were NEVER misdiagnosed.
Fast forwarding past my misdiagnosed miscarriage and sharing my story online. I started receiving emails from women wondering if they might be misdiagnosed and then finding out that they were! Over time, I started seeing a pattern. Not only were many of these women eight or nine weeks (with some being even further along than that!) but the vast majority had a tilted uterus.
I went on an email writing frenzy sharing what I had learned with researchers all over the world. Many did not return my emails. Some very kindly told me I was mistaken: A tipped uterus wouldn't make a difference because first trimester ultrasounds were the most accurate. I did have a couple of researchers who first told me there was no link and then later emailed to say something along the lines of, "Y'know, after thinking about it, I did have this one case..." or "My colleague just had this one case where he really believed it was a miscarriage." Nobody really bought into the tilted uterus thing though. As for me, I had no doubt.
Fast forward to today. I'm reading this page from the American Pregnancy Association and THERE IT IS. Reasons include a tipped uterus.
You don't even know how amazing that was to read. Nobody wanted to do the research but over the years we've collected so many stories of women misdiagnosed due to a tilted uterus. The medical community is listening. Your stories are making a difference! How many more babies will be saved now because more and more doctors will delay requesting that D&C.
This is truly exciting stuff!